Saturday, July 30, 2011
Then I realized that I didn't know how to make biscuits (and had no interest in making a trip to the store for the frozen pre-made variety). So I did a little research, figuring I probably had all of the necessary ingredients at home. First I looked in my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, but that recipe required cream of tartar and shortening... no.
I did a quick internet search and came up with Paula Deen's recipe. It looked really easy and used ingredients I happened to have around the house, so I decided to go for it. Have to admit that I was a little nervous though. Even my mother buys frozen biscuits, because she "can't seem to get them to come out right" (Sorry Ma... but your rice always comes out perfect, and mine's always a bit meh).
I decided to make a half-recipe, just in case they came out gross. I had good reason to think these biscuits would come out like hockey pucks. My ingredients weren't very cold, I handled the dough like crazy, I didn't preheat the oven long enough... and yet what came out of the oven were wonderfully flaky, buttery, misshapen lumps (I don't have any cookie cutters, so they were drop biscuits). They were so good I completely forgot about the chicken and gravy, Instead I ended up eating 5 biscuits with a couple of bites of chicken and a handful of frozen peas.
Actually, last night I thought maybe the biscuits were too buttery. That is, until I woke up this morning craving more. So I made them. Again. A full recipe this time around. They came out even better, since I substituted buttermilk (made out of regular milk and vinegar) for milk. I ate 4 of them, with jam and honey.
adapted from Paula Deen's recipe
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 c buttermilk (3/4 c milk with 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice)
Preheat oven to 450°
In a small cup or bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Set aside, this will be your buttermilk.
Combine dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks like cornmeal (a pastry blender would be handy here, but I just sort of rubbed the butter into the flour mixture with my fingers and it worked fine).
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and slowly pour in buttermilk. Knead the dough with your hands until it's all the same consistency. Now you can either roll the dough out and use a cookie-cutter to make perfectly-shaped biscuits, or be like me and grab hunks of dough and form them into vaguely biscuit-shaped lumps. Either way, set your biscuits on a greased cookie sheet and throw them in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden-brown.